The ‘inside story’: are your health issues caused by parasites?

Young couple sharing a digital tablet while relaxing in bedDid you know that parasites are a problem for millions of Americans? According to experts at the Centers for Disease Control, the problem is more common than many people realize. Moreover, many people that pick up a parasite often go undiagnosed, and suffer from illness and symptoms that could be treated or managed.

In fact, it’s a common misconception that parasites are only a problem in underdeveloped or poor countries. Many people (mistakenly) believe that you can’t pick up a parasite if you have access to proper sanitation, running water, and food prepared according to a high quality of safety standards. But, there are still ways to pick up a parasite that might surprise you. What can cause a parasitic infection?

These common risk factors might point to a parasitic infection:

  1. Do you own a cat? What about a cat at a friend’s home, or have you come into contact with a stray? Contact with cat waste, either accidentally or by cleaning a litter box, can expose you to a parasitic infection by Toxoplasmosis. It is estimated that more than 60 million people are chronically infected with toxoplasma gondii. Often, many people don’t hear about the possibility of contracting the parasite until they (or a friend) get pregnant, when an obstetrician orders tests or counsels them to avoid exposure to cat waste.
  2. Do you own a dog? You’re not better off than cat owners. The worms that live in the intestines of dogs (and some cats) carry a parasite called Toxocara. In fact, many Americans have been exposed and carry antibodies in their blood to fight off the infection. But for those that don’t, contracting Toxocara can lead to serious illness and even blindness.
  3. Did you know that some parasites can be contracted through sexual contact? A protozoa called trichomonias is transmitted sexually. It’s a common infection that often is symptomless, but can cause itching and burning, and puts the person at risk of developing additional infections because the body is weakened by trying to keep the parasite at bay.
  4. Eating undercooked meat — or even fruits and vegetables that haven’t been handled properly — can lead to exposure to tapeworms that live in the muscles and brain. Most people know that, but aren’t aware of how common exposure can be.
  5. Have you been hiking or camping lately? What about drinking untreated, unfiltered well or spring water? Contaminated water, taken in while camping or from other untreated sources, can lead to parasitic infections and illness.
  6. Been bitten by a bug lately? It’s well known that mosquitos and ticks can carry illness. But a bug called the triatomine bug can cause an illness called Chagas disease. According to some experts,”[m]ore than 300,000 American are infected with Trypanosoma cruzi, the parasite that causes Chagas disease, and more than 300 infected babies are born every year.”

So, how do you know if you have a parasitic infection? The symptoms can seem general, and mimmic symptoms of other illnesses. Think fatigue, fever, nausea, heart and respiratory symptoms, headaches, rashes, and itching. Fairly vague, right? That’s why we recommend that if you have unexplained symptoms that aren’t going away, you ask your holistic wellness provider and doctor to run tests for parasitic infection.

How do we test for parasites? The CDC recommends a few different tests. (You can call us to learn more, or visit the CDC page here.) The list of tests includes blood draws, fecal sample testing, and x-rays.

More than one kind of test may be performed by your health care provider. Among other things, the tests will look for antibodies in your blood serum, evidence in fecal samples of the byproducts of parasites, and x-rays will be used to determine if your organs have developed lesions caused by some parasitic infections.

In some cases, a colonoscopy may be done to more thoroughly screen for a parasite. You health care provider will determine which tests to order, and will often send the samples to a qualified lab for analysis.

It’s important to learn more about the issue, because so many Americans go without proper diagnosis and treatment due to a lack of knowledge and the common misconception that parasites are not an issue here in the United States.

If you think you may have unexplained symptoms and would benefit from a screening, either because you have one of the risk factors identified above, or just a long-term issue that has gone unresolved, please be sure to learn more and ask for a test.

You can take control of your health by learning more, and finding natural ways to promote your health, healing and overall wellness. Don’t hesitate to visit our website to learn more, and reach out with any questions.

Don’t get burned: why long-term antacid use isn’t a good option to treat digestive troubles

8588101_SDo you suffer from occasional heartburn, or have a problem with more serious recurring acid reflux? Or, do you have other digestive issues? If you do, and you’re treating any of the above with over the counter antacids, you may be setting yourself up to ‘get burned’ by side effects and the results of masking underlying health issues.

Pain is our body’s way of telling us there’s a problem. In all cases, it pays to notice the signs, symptoms and signals our body is giving us. Over-the-counter antacids aren’t a good solution for solving acid reflux and other digestive issues, because use can mask symptoms that tell us we need to make lifestyle changes and resolve underlying health problems.

Here are some of the known causes of acid reflux:

  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Taking OTC medications, such as aspirin or ibuprofen, certain blood pressure medications, or blood thinners
  • Hiatal hernia
  • Eating foods that don’t agree with your body (Some people will experience acid reflux after eating tomatoes, chocolate, spicy or fatty foods, as well as onions and garlic)
  • Pregnancy

In each of these cases, our body is trying to tell us something when we experience acid reflux. Maybe we need to change our diet, and remove foods that the body can’t tolerate. Or, maybe we need to lose weight and make healthier lifestyle choices. Perhaps we need to stop taking medications with side effects that tell us the body is experiencing stress caused by a treatment that’s making the condition worse, and not better. Or, in the worst case, we may have an underlying condition such as hernia that needs treatment and attention.

In all cases, it’s best to look at lifestyle to find the most natural, least invasive way to help the body to heal itself. For that reason, your wellness depends on your willingness to pay attention to your symptoms and find a holistic solution.

Additionally, the risks associated with taking antacids go beyond masking symptoms. The antacids can have side effects that can lead to other health problems. How? Antacids generally work in one of a few ways. You can find antacids that are “proton pump inhibitors,” or PPIs, that lower the amount of acid in the stomach; and there are H2 blockers that work by blocking acid production. Both types come with the risk of side effects.

H2 blockers are known to cause headaches, constipation, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. PPIs are known to have similar side effects, plus they interact negatively with other medications. Used long term, these medications have also been linked to memory loss, bone fractures, pneumonia, and heart and kidney problems.

Why? Because tampering with acid production in the stomach and the proper functioning of the digestive system can lead to problems absorbing nutrients from food, and overgrowth of bad bacteria in the gastrointestinal system (or gut). This can start a cycle of illness that prevents healing, poisons the body as the gut ‘leaks’ poisons into the system, and reduces resistance to other illness and infections.

That’s why we don’t recommend that people use antacids such as Nexium, Prilosec, Zantac and Pepcid to tread acid reflux long term. Many health and holistic practitioners are now sounding the alarm about the issues. And we’re not alone. Even the FDA is now issuing warnings about the problems of PPI use, especially on a long-term basis. They recommend limiting use to no more than six weeks. This is a major reversal, since antacids are one of the most popular drugs used by Americans. Doctors wrote 114 million prescriptions for them last year alone.

But why would you spend weeks taking a drug that could cause dementia and cancer, if you don’t have to? Instead, we recommend that you visit a holistic wellness provider. You need to tune in to the symptoms your body is sending, and look to see if you can find natural solutions.

Ready to learn more? We can provide more information on our website, and by speaking with one of our healthcare providers. We can counsel you on healthy eating and lifestyle choices, and use of supplements such as CBD oil to treat inflammation in the body.

Whatever you do, please take a little time to review all of your options before making a final decision to treat acid reflux and digestive issues in the body, and the conditions they create. You can take control of your health by learning more, and finding natural ways to promote your health, healing and overall wellness. Don’t hesitate to visit our website to learn more, and reach out with any questions.

Can you tell the difference between the symptoms of natural aging, and cognitive impairment?

42189222 - elderly couple smilling together over natural backgroundAs we age, it’s natural for our bodies to change. But we don’t have to accept that the quality of our health and lives will be diminished. Often, people expect that as we age we’ll have more difficulty learning new things, remembering things, or thinking as quickly and clearly as we used to. Yes, some of that is normal. But do you know the difference between normal, healthy changes and the signs and symptoms of dementia, Alzheimer’s, or other cognitive impairments?

It’s important to be able to tell the difference. There is so much that can be done to treat cognitive impairments and the underlying health issues that lead to foggy thinking, lack of focus, memory issues, and the emotional health issues that come from having health issues that impact the brain.

Here are some common signs of the normal aging process in the brain:

  • Not being able to remember names of acquaintances, or where you parked your car in a lot
  • Occasionally not being able to find the word you want to say, as if it’s ‘on the tip of your tongue’
  • Sometimes not remembering what you went into a room to get or find
  • Forgetting events every once in a while
  • You’re nervous about your memory, but close friends and family aren’t

But here are symptoms of a more serious, underlying problem:

  • A sense of brain fogginess on a regular basis, and an inability to remember things that just happened
  • Not remembering family members’ or close friends’ names
  • Finding yourself somewhere – like a mall, or grocery store – and not being sure how you got there
  • Inability to plan, or solve problems
  • Trouble having conversations
  • Not being aware of a problem, even though your family has mentioned it

It’s important to know the signs, because you can treat underlying health issues to improve brain functioning. How? By managing inflammation with a healthy diet, better sleep, managing stress, and making good lifestyle choices.

You can also take advantage of the anti-inflammatory benefits of using CBD oil from the help plant to improve brain health, and should consider how the Bredesen protocol may be beneficial. (We’re certified in the Bredesen protocol, and have made healthy brain functioning one of our areas of speciality.)

The earlier you catch a problem, the better your outcome will be. If you’re not sure whether you may have an underlying cognitive issue, or how to manage inflammation in the body, we invite you to reach out to us. Visit online, or book an appointment. We can help!

Whole-body health: We are taking a holistic, individualized approach to wellness

Happy family: mother father and child daughter on sunsetEvery body is different. When you aren’t feeling well, it can be tempting to look for fast fixes, quick treatments, and take chances in the hope that you’ll find the solution and feel better. But for long-term health, you need to learn more about how to best care for your body to prevent illness and treat it at the source.

A good first step is to find a health care provider that recognizes that your body is unique, and will provide holistic treatments. The systems of your body are interconnected, and must be balanced. That’s what it means to practice functional medicine. Simply put, it’s about balancing the body to find individually customized solutions, and promote healing and wellness that lasts, and make changes to prevent future imbalances, inflammation, and the resulting conditions.

Taking a whole-body, holistic approach can help to treat both mental and physical health ailments. Inflammation can lead to anxiety, metabolic issues, chronic pain, and other conditions.

A good health care provider should look at your diet, sleep patterns, hormone profiles, and any digestive (gut) issues to customize the best program and approach for you as an individual. One part of that approach is to counsel patients on healthy lifestyle habits, such as eating an organic diet of foods that work with your body. And just as organic is best for our food, it is also best for nutritional support products like CBD oil.

Holistic healthcare recognizes natural, effective, nutritional support products. You may already know about the benefits of full-spectrum CBD oil for anxiety, inflammation, pain and sleep, but a good provider will help you choose the right products.

Not all CBD Oil is of good quality. Unfortunately, most CBD oil comes from overseas, is grown in toxic soil and is extracted using a chemical extraction method that may leave traces behind. Instead, you need to choose a CBD oil that is organically grown.

Additionally, the CBD oil should be extracted from the hemp plant using CO2 extraction, which is the safest and best extraction method. A quality CBD oil should also be produced at a facility run by the same organization as the growers, thus ensuring high quality, safe and effective CBD Oil.

If you’re ready to explore holistic health and wellness options, we encourage you to visit us online to read more. (We also have a lot to say about how organic practices in CBD oil production are critical to producing a better quality, safer and more effective product, so be sure to visit us for information about that as well!)

How to manage inflammation with better nutrition, and why it matters

??????????????????????????????????????Are you dealing chronic health conditions? Do you regularly face mental health issues, such as anxiety or depression, or experience physical ailments? If so, you may need to learn more about inflammation in the body and find ways to get it under control.

Inflammation is the body’s natural response to illness and injury. For example, when you get a cut, scrape or sprain, the body responds with increased blood flow, swelling, pain. These symptoms are a sign that the body is trying to heal itself by ramping up its immune response.

Normally, that’s a good thing. But when it gets out of hand, the same system that promotes healing can create the conditions for chronic pain, sickness, and mental health issues as the body stays on high alert mode, and eventually starts to attack itself.

In general, this cycle of an out of control inflammatory response is what causes immune system problems, such as those that lead to arthritis, psoriasis, and allergies, just to name a few examples. Other signs that the body is dealing with chronic inflammation include mental fogginess, digestive issues, undefined aches and pains, and lack of energy.

So, what causes chronic inflammation? In part, the cause can be traced in some people to poor dietary choices, unhealthy behaviors, and poor environmental conditions. Eating processed foods, not getting enough sleep, a lack of exercise, and air pollution can all contribute to chronic inflammation for people susceptible or vulnerable to those conditions.

Another cause is chronic stress. When a person is stressed by poor work conditions, difficult relationships or other issues, the body produces hormones that ramp up circulation and change metabolism. In small doses, this gives the body energy and the mind focused to face challenges. But when stress is long term, those changes in the body create a toxic environment that prevent rest and healing. When the body and mind can’t rest and heal, that inflammation can cause additional health issues that exacerbate and cause mental health problems. (Think anxiety and depression.)

But one solution for ailments of the body and mind is to manage inflammation is to choose a healthier diet. You can choose foods that are more likely to heal the body than aggravate your condition. It helps to include more fruits and vegetables, fresh food, whole ingredients without chemical additives, organic food, and to control sugar, fat, and watch for allergies.

Adding natural foods that have been shown to fight inflammation makes a difference, too. Many people are finding that CBD oil is a safe, natural, effective way to control inflammation. But it makes a difference where you get your CBD oil from. Only good quality, organically produced CBD oil source from a local producer that monitors to prevent contamination will do.

There are foods that are well known to promote better health by reducing inflammation in the body. You’ll want to make choices based on your individual needs, but these are generally good options:

  • Curcumin. Found in the spice Turmeric, the yellow pigment curcumin has been found to be as effective as some over-the-counter medications, such as Ibuprofen.
  • Green Tea. Contains healthy compounds. The green tea is less processed, and is better for you than black or herbal teas.
  • Garlic. This powerful root provides wonderful flavor, but it’s also tremendously helpful in the body. Garlic has a blood thinning effect, and promotes good circulation, plus many more positive benefits.
  • Capsaicin. Found chili peppers, the same compound that gives heat and flavor to the pepper can help to control inflammation in the body.
  • White Willow Bark. Have you heard of white willow bark? It has a similar effect as aspirin, and has been used for its anti-inflammatory properties since Roman and Egyptian times.
  • Cinnamon. This spice comes from tree bark. In addition to being anti-inflammatory, it’s also high in antioxidant, and has lipid-lowering properties.
  • Ginger. A host of research studies have shown that ginger has a better anti-inflammatory effect than many non-steroidal drugs. Ginger is a root commonly used to flavor desserts, add warmth to sauces, added to teas, and even candied as a treat.
  • CBD Oil from the hemp plant. CBD is a natural source of antioxidants, and has a well known anti-inflammatory effect. It combats the q protein in the brain that is associated with anxiety, and promotes wellness in the body by augmenting nutrition. (You can read more in-depth information about the anti-inflammatory benefits of CBD Oil and how it works, here.

Please take a little time to review all of your options before making a final decision to treat inflammation in the body, and the conditions it creates. You can take control of your health by learning more, and finding natural ways to promote your health, healing and overall wellness. Don’t hesitate to visit our website to learn more, and reach out with any questions.

Relief is just a few drops away

African american man laughingHow’s your quality of life? With issues like anxiety, poor sleep and other health-related concerns at an all-time high, people are naturally turning to solutions — both natural and manmade — to feel better. Fortunately, more people than ever before are also eschewing prescription medications— primarily because they want to avoid potential side effects. And they’re right to worry!

While these are commonly prescribed today, doctors and pharmacists are both in agreement that there are risks and side effects to consider. Of those that seek traditional forms of treatment with prescription medications, most patients find that they will have to try at least a few medications before finding one (or a combination) that works for them. And in the meantime, they’ll experience the frustration that comes with trying to learn which chemicals work, or are simply tolerated, by their bodies. It can be a grueling and fraught process.

The good news is there are safe alternatives, like CBD oil. Many people have had success with using CBD oil to manage anxiety, reduce inflammation and improve sleep quality. To understand why, let’s look at the science. It all stems from inflammation, which is part of the body’s immune response. You might not associate mental health issues with inflammation, but they are in fact related. Scientists believe inflammation messes with our brains and subsequently may cause anxiety disorders. Anxiety-prone individuals may have higher levels of a protein complex, while those with lower levels report lower rates of anxiety.

So how does CBD oil enter the equation? CBD oil is a dietary supplement and an excellent source of nutrients that can be safely consumed as part of a daily diet. It is rich in natural cannabinoids, legal in every state, but not psychoactive. This means that it does not cause one to get “high” due to the absence of all but a trace of THC. THC is the chemical that is responsible for the getting high effect. We use industrial hemp in our CBD oil products, which is categorized as having less than .3 percent THC. And thanks to the Farm Bill of 2018, the legality in all 50 states is clear. Last, CBD oil has been proven in many published studies to have beneficial clinical effects for the conditions we mentioned, all of which we see in our practice every day.

Are you ready to learn more about what makes CBD oil special? Or, maybe you need additional information to choose the right CBD oil? In either case, please visit us online to learn more and feel free to reach out with any questions.

Science-based reasons why organic is better— for everything

42031415_MAre you seeking a high-quality, medical-grade potency, safe and effective CBD oil? Many people are beginning to learn more about the wellness benefits, and want to explore their options. If you or a loved one has health issues, even more is at stake regarding the quality of the food, products and medicine that you take. That’s why we want to make a critical recommendation: choose organic.

Chances are, you’re one of the many Americans choosing to eat a healthier diet and trying to live a lifestyle that supports wellness. Maybe you’ve adopted a fitness regimen; maybe you’ve already started eating more fruits and vegetables, and are choosing organic produce when you can. If so, then it will be no surprise to you that we’d recommend choosing an organic CBD oil, as well.

The preference for organic products isn’t just a trend among health-conscious people. Science is demonstrating that organic farming and practices are better for everyone, and have a range of measurable benefits.

Please, don’t just take our word for it. Here are three reasons that the experts recommend going organic.

Reason 1: Organic produce has a higher nutritional value. According to some research, plants actually produce higher levels of the vitamins, phytochemicals, and antioxidants that strengthen their defenses against natural pests (bugs), weeks, and other adverse conditions. Those increased nutrients are good for our bodies.

Reason 2: Organic produce is less likely to be contaminated by chemicals and heavy metals that can have adverse impacts on our bodies, health, and wellbeing. Why take the chance? We know that common pesticides, such as Roundup, have been shown to be known carcinogens. Others can cause negative cognitive impacts, inflammation in the body, and have a range of other negative impacts. Why take the risk? And if you’re suffering from a pre-existing health condition or long-term illness, why add more burden and strain on your body by taking in toxic chemical residue?

Reason 3: Organic farming and production practices support healthy agriculture — which leads to a healthier people and communities. Limiting and disallowing chemical pesticide use spares the soil from building up residue. It allows for the growth of natural bugs that have an overall beneficial impact on the environment. It avoids breeding superstrains of bacteria that have become resistant to chemicals and more likely to cause illness, and resistant to antibiotic treatments. Organic practices also spare pollinators —such as bees, and birds — which help crops to produce year after year. All of these practices lead to a healthier, more nutritious yield.

Just as organic is best for our food, it is also best for nutritional support products like CBD Oil. By now, many of you know about the benefits of full-spectrum CBD Oil for anxiety, inflammation, pain and sleep, but most don’t know that most CBD Oil comes from overseas, is grown in toxic soil and is extracted using a chemical extraction method that may leave traces behind. Our CBD Oil is organically grown, extracted using the safest and best extraction method, CO2 extraction and is produced at a facility run by the same organization as the growers, thus ensuring high quality, safe and effective CBD Oil.

Want to learn more? We encourage you to visit us online to read more about how organic practices in CBD oil production are critical to producing a better quality, safer and more effective product.

Combating Alzheimer’s with Brain Health Optimization and the Bredesen Protocol

47499705 - 3d medical background with male head with brain and dna strands If you’ve ever misplaced your keys, had trouble recalling a name or fact, or forgotten important information, like where you parked while out shopping, you can understand the fear and frustration that comes with temporary memory loss. Yet millions of Americans experience far more serious memory challenges in the form of Alzheimer’s disease, which is responsible for up to 80 percent of dementia cases.

Numbers like these demonstrate not only why Alzheimer’s is recognized as one of the world’s most burdensome diseases, but also why finding research-based, proven methods to improve brain health is increasingly critical.

And there is hope.

Dr. Dale Bredesen is recognized internationally for his ground-breaking research into ways to not only treat Alzheimer’s more effectively, but potentially prevent and even reverse the disease. Dr. Bredesen and his team from the Buck Institute for Research on Aging developed the Reversal of Cognitive Decline, or ReCODE. The science behind ReCODE comes through the examination of the pathogens of Alzheimer’s and the implementation of multiple strategies that seek not only to treat the symptoms of Alzheimer’s, but also address specific health issues that lead to Alzheimer’s. The results of their studies are very promising.

Proactive Wellness Center’s founder and director, Dr. Lynese Lawson, D.O., is certified through the Institute of Functional Medicine to use ReCODE, also known as the Bredesen Protocol, in the treatment of Mild Cognitive Impairment and Alzheimer’s. Through extensive research, she determined that the Bredesen Protocol provides the best evidence-based approach to Alzheimer’s diagnosis and treatment. This protocol is a core piece of our Brain Health Optimization Program (BHOP).

What is the Brain Health Optimization Program?

As an overview, our Brain Health Optimization and Treatment program includes:

  • Initial Consultation: You’ll be scheduled for a two-hour consultation at our Tyson’s office with your Bredesen-Protocol doctor to review test results from your cognitive evaluation.
  • Physical examination: Your doctor will perform a physical evaluation that will be used in determining your personalized treatment plan. This evaluation is typically conducted during the same visit as your two-hour consultation.
  • Baseline cognitive: Like the physical exam, this is typically during the two-hour consultation.
  • Additional consultation: A 90-minute appointment with your Bredesen-Protocol doctor, which can be conducted in-office or via tele-video, occurs on a date separate from your initial consultation and will cover the remaining tests that were not covered in the initial visit. Your doctor will also review the core elements of your personalized treatment plan and present the results of our evaluation in a personalized “cognoscopy.”

Of course, to understand the benefits that the Bredesen Protocol and BHOP offer to Alzheimer’s and cognitive impaired patients, it’s important to first understand how to recognize what Alzheimer’s is and what it isn’t.

Recognizing Alzheimer’s Disease

There are many factors that distinguish forgetfulness from something more serious. To help differentiate between Alzheimer’s and the normal aging process, we’ve created a basic list of indicators. For a more comprehensive list as well as a deep-dive into how lifestyle, genetics, head trauma history toxin exposure and more may contribute to the development of Alzheimers, visit our web page dedicated to Bredesen-Protocol strategies to improve brain health and reverse cognitive decline.

  • Vision challenges: Deteriorating eyesight is common as we age, but for those with Alzheimer’s, spacial relationships, distance and contract become a challenge.
  • Memory loss: If you go to the store without grabbing your shopping list, it’s easy to forget one or two items but remember them later. However, with Alzheimer’s, people frequently forget key dates of life events such as birthdays and anniversaries. They also are more likely to ask for the same piece of information multiple times. The memory loss associated with Alzheimer’s disrupts daily life
  • Conversation difficulties: As we age, we may find that we have shortness of breath when we speak or walk. And almost everyone can get tongue-tied during conversations from time to time. People with Alzheimer’s, however, are more likely to misuse words, repeat the same story during a single conversation, demonstrate difficulty recalling words or even find it hard to follow conversations.
  • Familiar tasks: For those with Alzheimer’s, familiar tasks, such as driving to or from home, can suddenly become unfamiliar. This leads to disorientation and difficulty following directions. Those with normal age-related memory loss are better able to retrace their steps upon getting lost.
  • Mood and personality changes: We are all prone to frustration when things aren’t done the way we are used to or prefer. This is a normal part of life. But for individuals with Alzheimer’s, pronounced changes in personality and mood, as well as social withdrawal, are often evident.

If you see these symptoms or others related to cognitive decline in your loved one (or yourself), they may be a candidate for the Brain Health Optimization Program. Together, we can help those we care about lead quality lives. A cognitive evaluation with Proactive Wellness Centers is the first step toward better brain health. To establish a baseline for treatment, we combine our age-normalized cognitive evaluation with the renowned Montreal Cognitive Assessment.

Once you receive the results of the neurological assessment and are ready to begin working with Dr. Lawson, you’ll be advised of the recommended next steps. We’re excited to make Brain Health Optimization Program and the Bredesen ReCODE Protocol available to you.

How Do You Choose to Live?

If asked, you would say that you live a good life. You’re comfortable in your home and job. You even get to take vacations once or twice a year.  But you can’t seem to shake the feeling that something is wrong inside.  You just don’t feel your best and you have been to the conventional doctor and been told that “everything is all right”.

When it comes to healthcare, you have two primary choices: Either trust your healthcare to the conventional allopathic medical system where the focus is on disease management, pharmaceutical medications and surgery, or opt for the new paradigm in healthcare, frequently called Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) or just Integrative Medicine.  The choice is yours and the question is which way do you choose to live?  Read on to learn more about the two choices.

The System That Fails Many People: Conventional Allopathic Medicine

Do you find yourself being a bit more irritable than you know yourself to be?  Or, maybe you are experiencing perimenopause and you have some up and down days and maybe even a hot flash here or there.  Your doctor probably just told you that this is just part of the “normal” aging process.  Do you find yourself a little short of breath when you walk up the stairs? Or do you have overwhelming fatigue and have been to multiple doctors, even the ones at the world-renowned clinics, but have been told that nothing is wrong or even worse, you have been misdiagnosed. You may have even been prescribed an anti-depressant!  Or, has the life been zapped from you with constant muscle and joint pain and once again no diagnosis has proven to lead to helpful treatment?

Conventional allopathic medicine is pretty good with treating single system well-defined illnesses where there is a known drug or surgical solution that works.  But where the illnesses are multi-system, multi-symptom and not fitting one of the established disease patterns, you may feel lost and without hope.  Or maybe you are healthy and just searching for a doctor to help you optimize your health so you can stay that way.

Conventional allopathic medicine would have us believe that our bodies are meant to breakdown once we hit the 50s and 60s. While accepting this idea may be good for your short-term finances— it isn’t the way to live if you want to be running around with your grandkids when you’re in your 70’s and 80s. Keep reading to see how Mary, a 75-year-old tutor, maintains a part-time job, exercises a few hours per week and keeps up with her grandkids on the playground every Saturday.

Mary was born in the summer of 1943 when the minimum wage was just $0.30 an hour and the life expectancy was 68 years for females and 61 years for males. She grew up in a small Eastern Tennessee town known for its whiskey and bluegrass music. Now, like most Americans, she grew up with the notion of, “if it ain’t’ broke don’t fix it.” But when it comes to healthcare in the 21st century, this approach is not the best way to approach your body if you want the golden years of the 60s – 80s to truly be golden.  The reality is that conventional allopathic medicine isn’t the answer either.  You have to empower yourself to take care of your health using all that modern medicine and science has to offer.

The following illustration and commentary explain why conventional allopathic medicine doesn’t work for many patients.

  • The waiting room shown above is a typical site for a busy family practice office.
  • Primary Care Physicians (PCPs) typically have patient loads of over 2,000 patients and see as many as 35-40 patients in a day. With those numbers, it is easy to see why there is no time to discuss complex symptom histories needed to diagnose and treat complex chronic disease.
  • Visits with conventional PCPs last between 5 -23 minutes with the average somewhere between 15-17 minutes according to multiple recently reported studies and reports.
  • Most of these doctors are doing what is “allowed” within the confines of insurance-based medicine where with very few exceptions, the focus is on disease management rather than prevention.
  • Consider that excepting well-baby care, mammograms, colonoscopies, periodic physicals once you are beyond a specified age and a very short list of other items, conventional medicine does NOT pay for prevention. You have to be sick to visit the doctor and for him/her to get paid.
  • Most of these doctors are operating from the “standard of care” manual that is outdated and does not include emerging approaches to prevention and disease management.
  • Even if they were to get trained in these emerging approaches, they can’t deviate from the “standard of care” without risk of losing reimbursement

Mary’s wake up call

On December 12th, 1983 when she was just 40 years old, Mary’s older sister Joann, died. She had a sudden heart attack.  This unfortunate event in Mary’s life caused her to wake up to the fact that she needed to take care of her body.  Joann was not a smoker nor an alcoholic, she got her regular checkups and was told that “all was fine” other than being a little overweight. In fact, Mary had recently spoken to Joann and when Mary asked about her health (because she was overweight), Joann said “My doctor said that I am fine as my total lipid panel is 198 (“normal”).  Over the years, Mary’s sister Joann had become more and more overweight. Every time she would go over to her house, she would be eating fast food. Her job exposed her to harmful chemicals and she never worked out. She was diagnosed with hypertension at the young age of 32, and although she took her daily pill for high blood pressure, her lifestyle continued to wreak havoc on her body.

This was Mary’s wake-up call. Her sister’s body had been giving her all kinds of signs that something was wrong. But sadly, she ignored every one of them. Fortunately, Mary made a decision from that day forward to live a long healthy life.

Conventional medicine is cheaper in the short run but what about the long term?

What if I told you that you didn’t have to suffer from declining health as Joann did? And all it takes is more of an investment upfront rather than later when it’s too late?

Sure, conventional allopathic medicine may be cheaper now. But what happens 10, 20, 30 years from now when you’re staring at a skilled nursing home bill? Following the traditional ways of healthcare will ultimately catch up with you and cost you more in the long run when there are expensive surgeries, costly monthly prescriptions, and skilled nursing facility costs.

Before Mary decided to invest in herself, it was a completely foreign idea to her. Like most of us, she grew up with the ingrained idea from the very beginning that when you get really sick, then you see a doctor. Otherwise get your periodic checkups, pay your $10-$20 copay and all will be fine until it isn’t.  Then there are pills and surgery to fix things if you develop a disease.

Mindless Suffering Ends Here with Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is the medical approach that focuses on the optimal functioning of your body and your organs. It focuses on understanding the root cause of disease then implementing strategies to optimize your body in order to avoid disease and proceed gracefully through the so called “golden years”.  Physicians that practice this way typically refer to themselves as practicing “integrative” and/or “functional” medicine.

CAM practitioners use very advanced lab testing (some of which is not covered by insurance) and advanced imaging that together with traditional markers gives a more complete and accurate picture of the biological age and health status of the patient.  These markers include genetics, advanced lipid markers that go well beyond the conventional standard lipid panel, volumetric imaging of the brain, chemical, heavy metals and environmental toxin exposure testing including mold and Lyme disease testing and much more.  For example, had Mary’s physician looked beyond the standard lipid panel, he/she might have seen that while her overall cholesterol numbers were fine, that she had lots of very small dense LDL particles and that her LPPLA2 (inflammation marker) was through the roof and her Cardio CRP was also elevated.  All of those markers are readily available with an advanced lipid panel.  They might also have done some non-invasive imaging such as a Carotid Intima Media Thickness (CIMT) ultrasound and found that she had dangerous plaque in her arteries.  If found early, they could then have implemented interventions to help Joann avoid having that massive heart attack that killed her.  Remember that about 50% of patients that die from a first-time heart attack patients don’t even make it to the hospital according to the CDC.

Even the world-renowned Mayo Clinic has adopted CAM as a viable treatment approach and has a wing dedicated to alternative treatments.  According to an article written by the Mayo Clinic, approximately 30% of adults report having used CAM.  Read here for more:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/consumer-health/in-depth/alternative-medicine/art-20045267.

Also, due to the increasing popularity of CAM approaches, there is now a new federal organization under the National Institute for Health (NIH), called the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH).  This organization is the Federal Government’s lead agency for scientific research on complementary and integrative health approaches whose mission is to define through rigorous scientific investigation, the usefulness and safety of complementary and integrative health interventions and their roles in improving health and health care.

The benefits of choosing complementary and alternative medicine over conventional allopathic medicine  look something like this.

 

 

The specific advantages of using Complementary and Alternative Medicine over Conventional approaches are:

  • A healthcare model that empowers you to take charge of your health
  • A healthcare model that leverages the current body of emerging clinical evidence, where conventional medicine relies mostly on what was taught in medical school 30 years ago.
  • Initial visits regularly last 1.5 – 2 hours so that there is sufficient time for the practitioner to understand your medical history at a detailed level including possible environmental exposures, familial history, personal disease history, symptom etiology along with your health goals and treatment preferences.
  • Significantly more detailed laboratory analysis focused on achieving optimal levels rather than being within laboratory reference ranges. In many cases the laboratory reference range is a statistical range that 80-85% of the population fits into.  CAM-based physicians operate from “optimal” ranges rather than these laboratory reference ranges and they use a much broader array of tests since they can use both insurance-based tests as well as tests that insurance routinely don’t cover.
  • You get personalized precision care plans since practitioners are armed with a detailed history and more detailed laboratory analysis. This is a big one if you’re tired of the “one size fits all” model that most conventional doctors follow today that has led nowhere after several years of trying to determine what is wrong.
  • A focus on the root cause of an illness rather than just treating the symptoms. This approach leads to true healing rather than just masking symptoms.
  • A focus on preventing chronic illness rather than the wait and hope approach of managing the disease once it has manifested
  • Practitioners have a bigger toolbox full of treatment options. CAMS physicians use medications, nutritional supplements, herbal remedies, homeopathics  and nutrition/lifestyle as part of a total solution. Conventional practitioners pretty much just use medications and surgeries including many “band aid” medications that may do more harm than good and many surgeries that don’t resolve the issue. For example, many patients suffering from menopause symptoms that present with mild depression end up getting prescribed anti-depressants.  Also, many patients presenting with MARCoNS (Multiple Antibiotic Resistant Coagulase Negative Staphylococci) from mold exposure end up having sinus surgeries that almost never resolve the MARCoNS.
  • The “total cost” of electing this model of healthcare is significantly lower than the cost of conventional care, if you factor in the costs of the expensive medications and surgeries, the cost of lost time from work and the impact on your mental health for going for years without getting treated effectively. In the short run, there are some out of pocket costs that you will need to pay to get this kind of treatment but in the long run, you will likely live a healthier life in the golden years.

The Choice that Mary Made

Mary started listening to her body. She went through specific tests designed to figure out the status of her body from a perspective of optimizing her health.  She had many tests done that were outside of insurance but these tests revealed subclinical deficiencies in nutrition, gut health, cardiovascular health and brain health.  It should be clear that these deficiencies would never have been detected by a physician working in the conventional allopathic model .   Then, working with her physician, they created a plan to optimize her suboptimal areas through clinical interventions, lifestyle changes, dietary changes and exercise – all geared towards preventing chronic illness. Investing in her health was the best choice she could have made.  Looking at the picture above, we can see that Mary made the right choice.

When you first start out on this journey of preventing illness and being proactive there can be some resistance either from within, someone close to you or even your conventional doctor. This is completely normal. But in order to enjoy the long-lasting benefits of integrative, functional and preventative care, you must push through this.  Through integrative and functional medicine, you can not only prevent many chronic diseases, but if you do get one, it can be treated in a way that brings about real and lasting healing.

At Proactive Wellness, we have seen patients come to us with chronic illness that hadn’t been focusing on optimizing their health.  Many of them are significantly debilitated, unable to work and therefore leading a very compromised life.  However, we have also seen some of our long-time patients who worked year in and out on optimizing their health become victim of a tick bite and develop Lyme disease or become exposed to a moldy building at work and develop mold illness/CIRS.  There is, however, a marked difference between the two cases. The optimized patient is not debilitated, is highly functional and able to continue with life while getting treated.  We have seen these scenarios repeated many times over the years and it is very clear that when patients have optimized their bodies, they are much more able to withstand a disease and persevere through it without debilitation.

We are pleased to offer a wide variety of treatments to help you starting with our Wellness/Optimization/Prevention programs and continuing through our chronic disease treatment programs including Lyme Disease, CIRS/Mold illness, parasitic infections, viral infections such as Epstein Barr, gastrointestinal illness including Crohn’s disease, intestinal permeability and others.  To get a precise diagnosis, we leverage leading-edge genetic testing and advanced lab testing using some of the best testing facilities in the world.  This allows us to deliver personalized, precision diagnosis and treatment.  Some of the specific programs we offer include bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT), heart attack, and stroke prevention, the Bredesen protocol to prevent and reverse cognitive decline related to Alzheimer’s and related diseases, advanced detoxification/binding/chelation programs, and IV Nutritional Therapy.

We are excited to be a part of this movement that is bringing real change to healthcare.  We are pleased to see and hear how these treatments are transformative for people that feel as though they got their life back.  In closing, we will share one true short story of a patient who came to our practice when he was 49 years old.  For his 50th birthday, he had hoped to climb Mt Kilimanjaro.  When he presented to us, he was 80 pounds overweight, had numerous lab that were outside of the optimal range and had little hope of climbing 19,000 feet to the mountain top although that had been his dream for over a decade.  But we were able to create a personalized clinical plan for him that ultimately helped him to lose 80 pounds and make significant improvement in multiple markers in a little less than 9 months, and he went on to climb the mountain and achieve his personal goal.  Just before he left, he asked us to make a banner for him and we are so pleased to have been a part of this with him.

The choice is yours.  How do you choose to live? Will you be a Mary or a Joann? Without your health, you have nothing! Investing in yourself can make a significant difference with how you age, not only for your present and future happiness, but also for your loved ones. If you don’t take care of your body then you may not be able to enjoy the golden years in the way that you had hoped. Living long is one thing, but living a long and healthy life is what most of us want.   Are you ready to climb your personal mountain?

Click here to find out more about our clinical team and what we do to help you get back your health and take charge of your life.

We are driven to diagnose and treat cognitive decline

If you have noticed a family member or close friend struggling with memory loss, frequently asking the same questions, telling the same story, or suffering from mood swings, they could be suffering from cognitive impairment.  It could be early stages of one of the many types of dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease.  The graphic below shows how Alzheimer’s causes atrophy (shrinkage) and death of brain cells.

It’s important to know that cognitive impairment is a wide umbrella and doesn’t necessarily mean your loved one is heading toward debilitating disease or losing the ability to take care of themselves. Getting treatment from medical professionals who are trained to treat cognitive impairment is crucial.

A study by the National Institutes of Health says the ApoE4 allele represents a critical risk factor for Alzheimer’s Disease. Dr. Berislav Zlokovic, M.D., Ph.D., who led the study, said “Understanding the role of ApoE4 in Alzheimer’s disease may be one of the most important avenues to a new therapy.”

The Centers for Disease Control also cites age as another significant risk factor for cognitive impairment and related diseases. We’re living in an era where one of the largest segments of our population—the Baby Boomers—is rapidly reaching retirement age. The CDC reports there are already 5.1 million people age 65 or older living with Alzheimer’s disease, which is the most common form of cognitive impairment. And that number could more than double in the next 30 years.

Dr. Dale Bredesen is on the front line fighting cognitive impairment, especially Alzheimer’s disease. He has developed a protocol that uses advanced testing, targeted medical interventions – including hormone support, immune regulation and detoxification – combined with specific dietary and lifestyle optimization to help dramatically reverse cognitive decline.

Our Dr. Lawson has earned certification in the Bredesen Protocol, and we are proud to offer it to our patients with our Brain Health Optimization (BHO) Evaluation and Treatment program. Dr. Lawson is passionate about helping patients with all types and levels of cognitive impairment fight for a better quality of life.

Patients can expect a comprehensive consultation, physical examination, and an assessment to achieve the best results.

Our Comprehensive Initial Brain Health Assessment consists of as many as 11 batteries tests, which are then summarized in a report we call the “Cognoscopy.” It brings together all of the findings, and summarizes risks for each of the six types of Alzheimer’s disease. It also includes a clinical plan to optimize health and reverse mild cognitive decline if it has begun.

Our initial evaluation and treatment includes:

  • Part 1: 2-hour in-office consultation to review core test results.
  • Part 2: Physical examination (usually on same day as part 1).
  • Part 3: Baseline cognitive assessment (typically on same day as part 1).
  • Part 4: 1.5-hour additional consultation (day 2 or later depending on availability of test results). This appointment can be in office or via tele-video.

You can enroll online or give us a call to discuss your specific circumstances and receive the best direction toward action and improvement.